What can I even say about my guest today? She’s a talented writer, an amazing friend and if you don’t have a blog you should start one just so you can receive a comment from the warm, supportive and genuine Julie Gardner. I asked Julie to share a funny summer memory and you will die when you read this. Grab a tissue for your tears of laughter and read on…
You Can Barely See My Lips Twitch, Right?
This is my sister and me in the summer of 1972.
She’s two, I’m four and we’re both in mortal danger.
I mean look at us. No five-point harnesses. No booster seats. Hell, we aren’t even wearing seatbelts.
We are sound asleep in two folding chairs nailed to the floor of a ‘57 Chevy my mom and dad purchased from my great-grandparents for a dollar. (The car, not the chairs.)
These days even my Raggedy Ann doll would have stricter safety precautions taken on her behalf.
But I don’t hail from paranoid stock.
We’re a “no news is generally good news” sort of family.
An “everything will be fine probably” sort of family.
And you must realize this before I share my summer memory.
It doesn’t take place in 1972, although I vaguely recall beach trips like the one pictured above.
No, my story unfolds on a lovely June day when my own children were two and four.
A friend and I were celebrating how blessed we were to be completing our ninth year educating high school students.
Or we were shouting, “Thank GOD it’s finally summer!”
Either way, there may’ve been (a responsible amount of) champagne involved. And perhaps a bit less supervision than parents who are especially fond of watching their children might desire.
Still, our comfort level was high because – after all – our daughters were napping and our boys were playing safely in the toy closet.
That’s right. Toy closet.
When you live in southern California, you don’t need a place to hang your winter coats because it never gets cold. What you do need is a place to shove all your kids’ crap.
Hence, our oh-so-handy “toy room” off the kitchen where we could drink (a responsible amount of) champagne while still monitoring the kids.
Which is why at some point I noticed the closet door was pulled shut and the boys were suspiciously quiet. So I investigated by tiptoeing across the kitchen and throwing open the door.
I found them standing against the wall wearing only their Superman underwear. And before I could say “Huh?” my son blurted this:
“WE DON’T HAVE ANYTHING IN OUR BUTTS!!!”
So of course I knew they had something in their butts.
As it turned out, that “something” was a box of tacks my child had sneaked from the tub of school supplies I’d carted home that week.
For some reason, these geniuses decided to place the tacks (oh-so-carefully) inside their underwear but then discovered they couldn’t really move.
No, they simply stood there. Like frozen statues.
Frozen idiot statues.
After my friend and I removed the tacks and finished placing hurried calls to MENSA, I had a talk with my son about common sense.
“It wasn’t my idea,” said my child with that telltale twitch of his lip.
I narrowed my eyes. “I know that’s not the truth.”
“I’m magic,” I whispered. Because duh. He thought “tacks in my underwear” was a brilliant idea. His whole world was based on fantasy. And I very much liked those years.
You know. When my fears still fit inside a closet.
Because three days ago my little boy turned fifteen.
And at some point he figured out I’m not really magic. Then I’m pretty sure he told his sister, too.
He doesn’t wear Superman underwear or play with his friends in the toy room.
(We turned it into a wine cellar because when you live in southern California and your kids outgrow their crap you need a place to shove all your alcohol).
Still, I’m not too worried. I mean, I did survive that Chevy. And also my son’s childhood.
So nothing really scares me anymore.
Thank you so much for visiting Julie, and making me feel better for having a closet full of winter coats.
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